Category Archives: Schiller


Schiller: “Hope”

Excerpt, “A Book of Ballads from the German.”  Translated by Percy Boyd, Esq.  1848.

manmoon

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Friedrich von Schiller: “Count Eberhard: The Weeper of Württemberg”

Stuttgart_Stiftskirche_Grafenstandbilder_Figur_06_Eberhard_der_Greiner

Eberhard II, called “der Greiner”  Count of Württemberg 1344 –1392.

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Count Eberhard

The Weeper of Württemberg

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Ye !—ye, there, in the world without.

Lift not your heads so grand !

Men hath it borne, and heroes stout.

Alike for peace or battle-rout,—

Our gallant Swabian land !

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Boast of your Edward, Fred’ric, Charles,

And Ludwig as ye might,

Charles, Fred’ric, Ludwig, Edward too,

Was Eberhard, our count so true,—

A tempest in the fight.

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The county’s boy, young Ulrich, too,

Loved well the iron clang ;

The county’s boy, young Ulrich, too,

No footfall backward ever drew,

Where men to saddle sprang.

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The Reutlingers brew’d vengeance-pain

To see our names so bright;

And strove the victor’s wreath to gain,

And many a sword-dance dared maintain.

And drew their girdles tight.

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He gave them war,—beshrew the fight

Whence beaten home he came !

The father’s brow was black as night,—

The youthful warrior fled the light,

And wept for very shame.

Ary_Scheffer_001_detail_01

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That gall’d him : ” Ah, ye knaves, beware !”

(And kept it in his soul)—

” Now by my father’s beard I swear

To grind the notch my sword doth bear

On many a townsman’s poll !”

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Nor long the time ere rose a feud:

Forth sallied horse and man ;

Toward Döffingen the army stood,

And brighter grew the younker’s mood,

And hot the fight began.

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The watchword to our men that day

Was given—”the ill-starr’d fight”—

That drove us like the storm away,

And lodged us deep in bloody fray,

And in the lances’ night.

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Our youthful Count, with lion’s wrath,

Swung high his hero-glaive ;

Wild battle-roar before his path.

Wailing and groans his feet beneath,

And all around—the grave.

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But woe ! ah, woe ! a ghastly sword

Fell heavy on his head;

The hero-band surround their lord

In vain ; young Ulrich on the sward

With glassy eyes lay dead.

Eberhard der Greiner bei Döffingen 1388

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Then horror stayed the battle’s plan.

Tears from all eyes ‘gan flow;

But ho !—the count to charge began—

“My son is as another man ;

March, children, on the foe !”

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And fiercer rageth now the fight.

For vengeance spurs them well ;

Forth o’er the corpses went their might,

And townsmen flying left and right

O’er forest, hill, and dell.

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And blythely all our clarions rang

When to our camp hied we ;

And wives and children gaily sang,

‘Mid dances’ whirl and beaker-klang,

To praise our victory.

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But Eberhard, what doth he here ?

Before him lies his son ;

Within his tent, no mortal near.

The Count hath dropt one sparkling tear

That silent form upon.

1-E1834-E1388-1DE:"Eberhard II. Graf von WŸrttemberg beweint seinen Sohn, derEberhard II. von Wttbg. beweint s. SohnEberhard II.,der Greiner,Graf v.WŸrttem- berg (1344-92);1315-1392. / - "Eberhard II. Graf von WŸrttemberg beweint seinen Sohn, der in der Schlacht bei Dšffingen starb". - (Erster StŠedtekrieg 1388/89; Schlacht b.Dšffingen,23.8.1388: Eberhard II. siegt Ÿber d.SchwŠb. StŠdtebund; Tod seines Sohnes Ulrich). / Gem.,1824,v.Ary Scheffer(1795-1858). / …l/Lwd,22x28,5cm.St.Petersburg, Staatliche Ermitage.Photo: akg-images

Therefore, with love so true and warm.

Around the Count we stand;

Alone, he is a hero-swarm—

The thunder rageth in his arm,—

The star of Swabian land.

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Then, ye there in the world without.

Lift not your heads so grand !

Men hath it borne, and heroes stout.

Alike in peace and battle-rout.

Our gallant Swabian land.

 

Schiller: “Wallenstein”

Excerpt, “The Death of Wallenstein,” by Friedrich Schiller.

wallenstein

WALLENSTEIN IN SOLILOQUY
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Is it possible?
Is't so? I can no longer what I would?
No longer draw back at my liking? I
Must do the deed, because I thought of it?
And fed this heart here with a dream?
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Because I did not scowl temptation from my presence,
Dallied with thoughts of possible fulfillment,
Commenced no movement, left all time uncertain,
And only kept the road, the access open?
By the great God of Heaven! It was not
My serious meaning, it was ne'er resolved.
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I but amused myself with thinking of it.
The free-will tempted me, the power to do
Or not to do.
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 Was it criminal
To make the fancy minister to hope,
To fill the air with pretty toys of air,
And clutch fantastic sceptres moving toward me?
Was not the will kept free? Beheld I not
The road of duty close beside me—but
One little step, and once more I was in it!
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Where am I? Whither have I been transported?
No road, no track behind me, but a wall,
Impenetrable, insurmountable,
Rises obedient to the spells I muttered
And meant not—my own doings tower behind me.
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Pauses and remains in deep thought.
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A punishable man I seem, the guilt,
Try what I will, I cannot roll off from me;
The equivocal demeanor of my life
Bears witness on my prosecutor's party.
And even my purest acts from purest motives
Suspicion poisons with malicious gloss.
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Were I that thing for which I pass, that traitor,
A goodly outside I had sure reserved,
Had drawn the coverings thick and double round me,
Been calm and chary of my utterance;
But being conscious of the innocence
Of my intent, my uncorrupted will,
I gave way to my humors, to my passion:
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Bold were my words, because my deeds were not.
Now every planless measure, chance event,
The threat of rage, the vaunt of joy and triumph,
And all the May-games of a heart o’erflowing,
Will they connect, and weave them all together
Into one web of treason; all will be plan,
My eye ne'er absent from the far-off mark,
Step tracing step, each step a politic progress;
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And out of all they'll fabricate a charge
So specious, that I must myself stand dumb.
I am caught in my own net, and only force,
Naught but a sudden rent can liberate me.
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Pauses again.
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How else! Since that the heart's unbiased instinct
Impelled me to the daring deed, which now
Necessity, self-preservation, orders.
Stern is the on-look of necessity,
Not without shudder may a human hand
Grasp the mysterious urn of destiny.
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My deed was mine, remaining in my bosom;
Once suffered to escape from its safe corner
Within the heart, its nursery and birthplace,
Sent forth into the foreign, it belongs
Forever to those sly malicious powers
Whom never art of man conciliated.
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Paces in agitation through the chamber, then
 pauses, and, after the pause, breaks out again
 into audible soliloquy.
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What is thy enterprise? Thy aim? Thy object?
Hast honestly confessed it to thyself?
Power seated on a quiet throne thou'dst shake,
Power on an ancient, consecrated throne,
Strong in possession, founded in all custom;
Power by a thousand tough and stringy roots
Fixed to the people's pious nursery faith.
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This, this will be no strife of strength with strength.
That feared I not. I brave each combatant,
Whom I can look on, fixing eye to eye,
Who, full himself of courage, kindles courage
In me too. 'Tis a foe invisible
The which I fear—a fearful enemy,
Which in the human heart opposes me,
By its coward fear alone made fearful to me.
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Not that, which full of life, instinct with power,
Makes known its present being; that is not
The true, the perilously formidable.
O no! it is the common, the quite common,
The thing of an eternal yesterday.
Whatever was, and evermore returns,
Sterling to-morrow, for to-day 'twas sterling!
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For of the wholly common is man made,
And custom is his nurse! Woe then to them
Who lay irreverent hands upon his old
House furniture, the dear inheritance
From his forefathers! For time consecrates;
And what is gray with age becomes religion.
Be in possession, and thou hast the right,
And sacred will the many guard it for thee!

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Friedrich Schiller: “The Battle”

austrian-prussian-cuirassiers-1200Austrian and Prussian cuirassiers at the

Battle of Lobositz

Seven Years War, 1st October, 1756

 

The Battle

Heavy and solemn,
A cloudy column,
Through the green plain they marching came!
Measure less spread, like a table dread,
For the wild grim dice of the iron game.
The looks are bent on the shaking ground,
And the heart beats loud with a knelling sound;
Swift by the breasts that must bear the brunt,
Gallops the major along the front–
“Halt!”
And fettered they stand at the stark command,
And the warriors, silent, halt!
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Proud in the blush of morning glowing,
What on the hill-top shines in flowing,
“See you the foeman’s banners waving?”
“We see the foeman’s banners waving!”
“God be with ye–children and wife!”
Hark to the music–the trump and the fife,
How they ring through the ranks which they rouse to the strife!
Thrilling they sound with their glorious tone,
Thrilling they go through the marrow and bone!
Brothers, God grant when this life is o’er,
In the life to come that we meet once more!
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See the smoke how the lightning is cleaving asunder!
Hark the guns, peal on peal, how they boom in their thunder!
From host to host, with kindling sound,
The shouting signal circles round,
Ay, shout it forth to life or death–
Freer already breathes the breath!
The war is waging, slaughter raging,
And heavy through the reeking pall,
The iron death-dice fall!
Nearer they close–foes upon foes
“Ready!”–From square to square it goes,
Down on the knee they sank,
And fire comes sharp from the foremost rank.
Many a man to the earth it sent,
Many a gap by the balls is rent–
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O’er the corpse before springs the hinder man,
That the line may not fail to the fearless van,
To the right, to the left, and around and around,
Death whirls in its dance on the bloody ground.
God’s sunlight is quenched in the fiery fight,
Over the hosts falls a brooding night!
Brothers, God grant when this life is o’er
In the life to come that we meet once more!
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The dead men lie bathed in the weltering blood
And the living are blent in the slippery flood,
And the feet, as they reeling and sliding go,
Stumble still on the corpses that sleep below.
“What, Francis!” “Give Charlotte my last farewell.”
As the dying man murmurs, the thunders swell–
“I’ll give–Oh God! are their guns so near?
Ho! comrades!–yon volley!–look sharp to the rear!–
I’ll give thy Charlotte thy last farewell,
Sleep soft! where death thickest descendeth in rain,
The friend thou forsakest thy side shall regain!”
Hitherward–thitherward reels the fight,
Dark and more darkly day glooms into night–
Brothers, God grant when this life is o’er
In the life to come that we meet once more!
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Hark to the hoofs that galloping go!
The adjutant flying,–
The horsemen press hard on the panting foe,
Their thunder booms in dying–
Victory!
The terror has seized on the dastards all,
And their colors fall!
Victory!
Closed is the brunt of the glorious fight
And the day, like a conqueror, bursts on the night,
Trumpet and fife swelling choral along,
The triumph already sweeps marching in song.
Farewell, fallen brothers, though this life be o’er,
There’s another, in which we shall meet you once more!

 

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